The calculated pattern of ethnic cleansing leading up to Srebrenica; and the importance of capturing Srebrenica.
The first point ignored by genocide justifiers is the calculated pattern of ethnic cleansing all over Bosnia leading up to Srebrenica, as well as the strategic importance of capturing Srebrenica. By looking at the pattern of ethnic cleansing, one can see that the attack on Srebrenica, while by far the worst single war crime of the war, was hardly an anomaly.
1. Evidence of preparation for war/killing before 1992
Although war formally broke out in 1992, as early as 1990 there were plans for war and atrocities against Muslim civilians.
Plan for massive weapons exchange:
As early as 1990, there was massive exchange of weapons from the JNA to Bosnian Serbs. Bosnia Paper
Plan for atrocities against civilians:
According to a Slovenian newspaper: “[a]analysis of the Muslim's behaviour showed that their morale, desire for battle, and will could be crushed most easily by raping women, especially minors and even children, and by killing members of the Muslim nationality inside their religious facilities.” Bosnia Paper
2. Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Bosniaks in 1992-1993
Genocide deniers have constantly ignored the systematic pattern of ethnic cleansing by the VRS in 1992-1993.
Definition of Ethnic Cleansing:
Ethnic Cleansing involved the permanent removal, by murder, rape, deportation, destruction of houses, or fear as a result of these events of Bosniaks from their land. In 1992 UN General Assembly labeled ethnic cleansing a form of genocide. (Source: Kristic Judgement para 578)
The most prominent form of Ethnic Cleansing included the mass murder of Bosniak males. This specific targeting of Bosniak males for killing has been described as a “gendercide.” (gendercide.org) In particular, these killings were highly organized. Mark Danner describes the organizational & systematic factors of the ethnic cleansing campaign:
Concentration. Surround the area to be cleansed and after warning the resident Serbs -- often they are urged to leave or are at least told to mark their houses with white flags -- intimidate the target population with artillery fire and arbitrary executions and then bring them out into the streets.
2. Decapitation. Execute political leaders and those capable of taking their places: lawyers, judges, public officials, writers, professors.
3. Separation. Divide women, children, and old men from men of "fighting age" -- sixteen years to sixty years old.
4. Evacuation. Transport women, children, and old men to the border, expelling them into a neighboring territory or country.
5. Liquidation. Execute "fighting age" men, dispose of bodies. (Gendercide.org)
It should be noted, that although military age males were the most prominent victims of mass executions, women and children were also massacred; such as the case of Sarajevo, where Bosnian Serb soldiers targeted and murdered Muslim, Serb and Croatian children. Borislav Herak, a BSA soldier convicted of war crimes has described that murder of 120 Muslim women and children by BSA soldiers in the town of Vogosca.
Besides the mass murder of Bosniak males, there was also mass rape of women and girls. These rapes were not acts of wayward soldiers, but part of a systematic plan of war to destroy the Bosniak community.
Destruction of cultural history:
Obviously far less severe than the killings or rape; another very important part of the ethnic cleansing campaign was the purposeful destruction of Muslim religious and cultural landmarks. . For a short essay on cultural destruction as it relates to Srebrenica, see here: Cultural Destruction of Srebrenica
Evidence of systematic ethnic cleansing throughout Bosnia
See cases & documents relating to the Prijedor region.
3. “Greater Serbia” The goal of ethnic cleansing
The overreaching goal of this massive ethnic cleansing plan was to create a “Greater Serbia” state. This state would be cleansed of its Bosniak population and it was under the guise of creating a Serb state to “protect” the Serbs than the Bosnian Serb government organized and carried out a plan of ethnic cleansing.
4. Aims of the Ethnic Cleansing in Eastern Bosnia
At the heart of this plan to create a Greater Serbia, was the elimination of the Drina River as the boundary between Serbia proper and the RS (See Beara Indictment). Therefore, Eastern Bosnia was a specific and very important target, because by capturing Eastern Bosnia and expelling and/or killing Bosniaks in the area; the VRS would be able to achieve it’s goal of uniting the RS to Serbia in one ethnically pure piece of land.
5. Evidence of Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against Bosniaks in Eastern Bosnia.
Besides ignoring the pattern of ethnic cleansing throughout Bosnia, and the strategic importance of Eastern Bosnia for ethnic cleansing; genocide justifiers have ignored that before any Bosniak war crimes took place, there was a massive ethnic cleansing campaign against the Bosniaks.
Ethnic Cleansing in Eastern Bosnia
According to the Kristic judgement, the villages/towns of: Zvornik, Sekovici, Kalesija, Bratunac, Vlasenica, Kladanj, Olovo, Han Pijesak, Rogatica and Sokolac were cleansed of it’s Bosniak population. (See Kristic judgement para 565).
For a personal description of the massive ethnic cleansing campaign, see “Postcards From The Grave” by Emir Suljagic.
Attempted Ethnic Cleansing in Srebrenica:
One of the few islands of land not overtaken by the VRS/JNA was the Srebrenica area. As a result, in the spring of 1992 it became point of last refuge for thousands of refugees forced out of their homes in Eastern Bosnia. Arkan, the notorious paramilitary leader and pastry shop owner (who would have thought?) attempted to overtake the town in 1992. A large scale massacre and ethnic cleansing campaign was prevented only by an ad hoc guerilla force organized by Naser Oric. There are many things one can say about Naser Oric, which I will get to in a bit; but he did defend Srebrenica at a time when no one else would or could.
Conclusion: Srebrenica was not an isolated event, but part of a large scale ethnic cleansing campaign. Furthermore, before any Bosniak counter offensive or war crimes took place, Srebrenica was under attack because of it’s strategic location in the creation of Greater Serbia.